New models - HSV - ClubSport
HSV's Y Series fronts with focus on refinement
We've seen Holden's VY Commodore, now for HSV's more powerful, more refined Y Series
9 Oct 2002
THE recent VY Commodore overhaul may have represented the biggest change to Holden's bread-and-butter large car since the VT appeared in 1997, but for a whole generation of young people and successful Aussie battlers, the release of Holden Special Vehicles' so-called Y Series range is even more hotly awaited news.
Launched to the media this week in Sydney, HSV's freshened VY Commodore-based range arrives featuring new front and rear-end styling, a new interior, more refinement, extra standard equipment and the obligatory power increase - matching Ford's forthcoming XR8 with 260kW.
Due for release at next week's Sydney motor show, the Y Series range predictably brings price rises (of less than three per cent across the board) and comprises seven models to replace the outgoing VX Series II line-up, launched at the same venue last year and still in dealer showrooms.
Starting with HSV's entry level ClubSport sedan and Maloo ute models, the 2003 range again includes the higher specified R8 version of each bodystyle, while the Senator name has been reintroduced to create what HSV describes as "a second level of HSV Grand Touring performance sedan" between ClubSport R8 and the better equipped Senator Signature.
The return of the GTS nameplate to the sedan range caps off the Y Series range, replacing the 300kW SV300 and joining the Coupe GTS as HSV's power king.
The GTS sedan, of which only 100 examples will be built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original GTS sedan, will include the option of a "torque enhanced" version of GM's four-speed auto mated for the first time with HSV's flagship US-built 300kW V8 engine.
While the entry level six-cylinder XU-6 has not been reintroduced as part of the revised hot Holden line-up, both of HSV's coupe models and the long-wheelbase Grange continue to be available until an updated version of both variants is released following Holden's launch of a revised Statesman and Monaro early next year - albeit at a slight price rise as well.
HSV says a new, more structured Y Series development program was instituted to meet quality and timing targets, and the result is a focus on driving refinement, sophisticated styling and high quality materials aimed "squarely at beating premium European brands at their own game".
Quoting figures showing 25 per cent of HSV customers nominated BMW as their first alternative purchase choice, HSV general manager Chris Payne said: "We deliberately set out to refine our suspensions, powertrain calibrations and braking system upgrades to lift the level of refinement to meet that European expectation. We also aimed for some very high benchmarks in terms of material quality and design." For example, the Y Series' new look bumpers employ a new polypropylene full injection moulded manufacturing process - as used by major manufacturers. It's lighter, better-fitting and said to have cost five times as much to tool compared with VXII's polyurethane reaction injection moulding process.
Y Series presents two distinctly different design themes: a "sensual GT statement" for Senator models and a more "hardcore" statement for ClubSport.
Alternative spoilers will be available for ClubSport and Senator, while the range-topping GTS gets a unique front bumper feature panel and body side mouldings.
Five-spoke wheels are used for the more sporting models, with Senators getting more surface area and there's also a new 19-inch alloy wheel replacement for GTS.
Maloo gets left and right side tailpipes for the first time plus a new sailplane wing, while R8 gets a different hard tonneau design.
Martini Grey, Turbine Grey, Berry Red and Monaro's Hothouse Green (available only on ClubSport/Maloo) join the HSV colour palette.
HSV Y Series pricingClubSport $58,200
ClubSport auto $59,200
ClubSport R8 $68,860
ClubSport R8 auto $68,860
Maloo auto $50,950
Maloo R8 $57,950
Maloo R8 auto $57,950
Senator auto $73,950
Senator Signature auto $79,950
GTS auto $93,950 Revised long-wheelbase/coupe pricing:
Coupe GTO $74,570
Coupe GTO auto $74,570
Coupe GTS $95,869
Grange auto $85,024
HSV gives Ford a backhanderPUMPED-UP HSV managing director John Crennan came out punching at the Y Series launch in Sydney last night, opening with a backhander aimed squarely at the newly created Ford Performance Vehicles and the forthcoming Falcon GT.
"Ford's GT pre-launch and early burial of the Tickford brand and products is a big risk," he said.
"It is Ford's third attempt in 10 years to find a solution to the HSV business model. We view Ford's pre-release of their next HSV competitive program as again the chance to grow the size of the pie and add some good competition to the mix.
"Equally, however, we are ready for the challenge and as you will see by our Y Series, we haven't been resting on the handles of our shovels. We have made massive steps in differentiation between our VX and this model.
"With 15 years of straight growth with no bruising to our brand, our Y Series gets launched on the crest of a wave. We know our market and we maintain an enormous sense of consistency in the way we run our business relationship with our customer base," he said.
Mr Crennan said HSV's ultimate prize was being voted the coolest car brand by Australia's youth and revealed GM officials including product legend Bob Lutz have been so impressed with HSV's successful business model that they will use HSV expertise to help replicate the program in the US. Mr Crennan went on to back up his confidence in the HSV brand with some impressive figures.
"Has there been another car company at the performance end of the luxury or any end (sic) who has been around 10, 15 or 20 years who can claim a 100 per cent increase in volume in six years between our 10th and 15th anniversary? "At our 10th anniversary we mentioned we had 22,000 cars on the road. At our 15th anniversary at year end we anticipate 36,500. By 2005 we expect to reach the 50,000 figure. This new growth is expected to be achieved through product portfolio expansion and exports." For more on the new HSV Y Series range and how it drives go to our New Models section and select our story: "First drive: HSV pours on the power".
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